TrapWire is an American software and services company focused on risk mitigation and threat detection. The company claims to blend proprietary analytic tools, Artificial Intelligence, and subject matter expertise to produce a homonymous software system to help its users find patterns indicative of terrorist attacks and other criminal events. According to their website, company leadership includes President Dan Botsch; Director of Business Development Michael Maness; Director of Operations Mike Chang; and Director of Technology Paul Chadha.
The company was founded in 2004 by former US intelligence officers in response to the increasing threats posed by terrorist organizations against US targets. According to company documents, the first deployment of the TrapWire system appears to have occurred in 2007 and was originally built and deployed to protect US critical infrastructure. The system currently provides physical security and threat detection services to more than 2,000 public and private sector sites across the US. The system is being used to identify threats ranging from terrorism to organized crime, human trafficking, fraud and Crimes Against Children.
The TrapWire flagship product is a cloud-based threat detection technology that received US government FedRAMP authorization in 2018. The system provides a common operating platform for analysis and information sharing between various government and private sector entities. TrapWire registered as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In the submitted document, the system is described in detail. The assumption is that terrorists and criminals are vulnerable due to their need to conduct pre-attack surveillance, "such as photographing, measuring and signaling". Such suspicious activities, as detected in imagery or human reports, are entered into a database using a "10-characteristic description of individuals" or vehicle information. The data is correlated across the network, claiming a "network effect" of increased security due to this correlation. The result is a TrapWire Threat Meter (TIM) level which may be monitored by security personnel. The system distinguishes threat and vulnerability information; the latter is not shared through the network.
TrapWire does not list its clients online; however, a review of publicly available documents indicates the firm’s clients include, among others, the US military, state and local law enforcement, Fusion Centers, financial institutions, transportation hubs, energy sites, and the hospitality and gaming industry.
In August 2012, the hack of a US-based company, Stratfor, resulted in more than one million internal Stratfor emails published via WikiLeaks. Included in the emails were claims made by Stratfor employees about the size, scope and capability of the TrapWire system. A review of various news, business and social media articles suggests these claims may be overblown. According to the Stratfor emails, TrapWire software “facilitates intelligence-gathering on U.S. and global citizens, using surveillance technology, incident reports from citizens, and data correlation for local police and law enforcement agencies.”
According to a report by Russia Today, Stratfor officials claimed that TrapWire consisted of a network of surveillance cameras installed "In major American cities at selected high-value targets (HVTs) and has appeared abroad as well." However, the FAQ section of the TrapWire website claims the firm does not tie directly to any CCTV cameras. The patent application and publicly available documents appear to show TrapWire as a cloud-based, software for service technology. The software program analyzes incident data to detect "suspicious" behavior. Any patterns detected – links among individuals, vehicles or activities – will be reported back to each affected facility. This information can also be shared with the law enforcement organizations, enabling them to begin investigations into the suspected surveillance cell.
In one leaked email, Stratfor vice president Fred Burton stated TrapWire is in place at every high-value target in New York City, Washington, D.C, and Los Angeles, as well as London and Ottawa.
- "Stratfor emails reveal secret, widespread TrapWire surveillance system". RT. August 20, 2012. Archived from the original on 11 August 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2018. Archive link: , accessed 14 April 2018.